Arecent drive into San Luis reaffirmed something I have long known about myself: I’m a guy of simple pleasures and treasures. After the car got up to speed and the cruise control was set, I took the opportunity to watch the simplicity of nature as the considerable beauty slipped by.
“This is so lovely!” I said out loud to myself. Beauty appears in simple forms to me: The graceful, undulating hills in their finery of seasonal green; the brilliantly white clouds; they, in turn, create different shades of blue sky by their contrast. Countless flowers bloom in all directions. I don’t recall seeing as much oxalis (Bermuda buttercup) as is on display this year. Whoever is in charge of the floral arrangements this spring should certainly have their contract renewed. I have two words for him or her: Thank you.
Think of it; it’s as if I were driving through a gigantic flower shop. These are all incredible miracles! And then there is the astounding phenomenon of water falling from the sky. It’s all so amazing.
Each time I see a smattering of electric- orange poppies, a question bobs to the surface of my consciousness: Why do poppies usually grow in sparse, rocky areas? They often cling to the rugged face of a rocky cliff, or find a home in the gravel at the edge of the roadway. Is it that the seeds secrete themselves in the cracks, or is it because it’s warmer next to the rocks? Perhaps they like it best in soil that is dryer than loam. Next time I go for a stroll, maybe I’ll sit down and have a chat with a bunch of them…perchance they’ll tell me their secret.
There is a trail above Salmon Creek Falls that used to be like a walk through a wonderland. The path led through an area of broken olivine, an expanse about half the size of a football field. It can be said that olivine is incomplete jade — it did not have the adequate experience of heat and pressure to turn into jade. Its dark-green appearance has the look of slivers and chunks of Palmolive soap. At this time of year, poppies displayed themselves in all their brilliance in this field of dark-green broken rock. The effect was remarkable. And I love the fact that olivine has been found on Mars.
But as things in nature are wont to do, over the years the terrain has changed and the display I so fondly remember no longer occurs. The effect on my soul is indelible, though.
Eddy Howard used to croon, “To each his own, to each his own ….” I need to keep this simple statement in mind when I have lost myself in the beauty of nature on a leisurely drive through our piece of Heaven-on-earth. Invariably, images of large metropolitan areas, such as Southern California, begin to intrude into my serenity. The contrast of the source of my simple pleasures with that of the big city-dwellers’ hectic pursuit of expensive things tends to make me judgmental. I need to keep in mind that we all seek different pleasures and treasures in life. I’m sure that those folks find it just as confusing to see my joy in gazing at a bunch of wildflowers, surrounded by green grass dancing in the afternoon breeze, as I am befuddled by their need to possess things that rust and live in overpriced houses in private, gated communities.
This is a world where we are all equal … but definitely not the same.
I have found my own.
E-mail John Brannon at firstname.lastname@example.org